A Love Letter To "Belly Of The Whale."

I have had a draft with the above photo in my post queue since March with the eventual plan to compose a short love letter masquerading as a post to the song "Belly of the Whale." That was until I got word on Wednesday that Tim McGovern had recorded a new version of one of my all-time favorite songs with eventual plans to put it up on itunes (finally).

I have no shame about hero worship on this blog; I have already told Tim that listening to this new version had brought me to tears, and thanked him for writing a song that has given me great joy since 1983.

Probably at the top of my list of favorite songs, "Belly of the Whale" was originally written in 1971, and was first released in 1983. The song received heavy rotation on MTV and was given massive airplay on Pasadena's
KROQ, where I first heard it. The video for "Belly of the Whale" became one of MTV's top 10 videos during their start up period and I would sing along and dance with glee whenever it came on (thank you Martha, JJ, Mark, Nina, and Alan).

After departing The Motels, Tim McGovern formed Burning Sensations, one of the first world beat bands. Burning Sensations disbanded in 1987 and their discography is brief; the Belly of the Whale EP was released in 1982, Burning Sensations was released in 1983, and their version of "Pablo Picasso" was featured on the Repo Man soundtrack in 1984.

One of the great things about music is its profound ability to imprint a precise set of emotions in our memory banks; we remember the place, the time, our state of mind, the smells, the sights, and the feelings we were experiencing when we first heard a great album or a great song. Those imprints from albums and songs can change how you feel about music forever, and for me "Belly of the Whale" is one of those such songs.

My taste in music first began to take shape when I discovered MTV, but how I feel about music was changed forever when I began tuning into a little radio station that was started in the basement of my childhood church.

KROQ grabbed a hold of me because it took chances with its format, and had playlists like none I had ever heard before. All of these incredible new sounds were coming at me at such a rapid pace that they sent my head spinning. Prior to the discovery of KROQ I had been listening to John Denver, Barry Manilow, and Neil Diamond.

So needless to say, KROQ sent this nubile, awkward, brace-faced dork into some kind of orbit that I have still not come down from (see: this entire blog). I had at once realized that I had been unknowingly searching for more than my local, popular, rock-crap stations were offering. And in a station that played this beautiful, new sounding and fun song called "Belly of the Whale," I had finally found what I was looking for.

nice breeze had blown in...

So this is my short love letter masquerading as a post to the original "Belly of the Whale," a song that helped change the way I feel about music forever. And I would like to again thank Tim McGovern for resurrecting the song in 2010, and for writing it all those 39 years ago. Thank you Tim McGovern for reminding me how I feel about music, for writing the only song I have ever heard that includes the words sip + Bouillabaisse and for essentially proving Heraclitus wrong when he said that you cannot step twice into the same river.

"Belly of the Whale" mix #11

Photo: The Waist High Collection